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The Toilet Paper Principle: Stock-Up Price For TP

by Tara Kuczykowski on June 22, 2010 · 120 comments

Let's talk toilet paper for a moment. It's definitely a necessity, and I personally find it to be one of the most difficult items to stockpile. Deals have been somewhat scarce lately, and in addition, it's just darn hard to figure out whether you're really getting bargain on it. With double rolls and ultra packs, etc., how do you know if you're paying a reasonable price or not?

Reader Beth left this tip on my recent Target and CVS Savings post that makes it super easy to tell if a sale price on toilet paper is worthy of stocking up or not. It shall forever be known as the "Toilet Paper Principle" here on Deal Seeking Mom!

Look at the front bottom of the toilet paper package to determine the total square feet. Now insert a decimal point in this number two places to the left. If the cost of the package minus coupons is less than or equal to this figure, it's a decent deal -- basically $0.01 or less per square foot!


TP #1 = 400 sq. ft.; price = $6; stock-up price $4, so not a fabulous deal.
TP #2 = 650 sq. ft.; price = $5; stock-up price $6.50, so definitely a bargain!

Thanks so much, Beth, for sharing this simple concept!

Do you have any similar tips and tricks that you use to determine whether a price on a product is a stockpile deal?

{ 120 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jax norris July 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm

is there something similar to tell a good deal for paper towels? I have the $5 Bounty coupon and want to use it for the best deal not necessarily just because its free or cheap?


2 Laura S. July 6, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Jax - after doing some research, I've started to consider paper towels a good deal when it's less than $0.03 per sq. ft. Using Beth's rule as a guideline:

Look at the front bottom of the toilet paper package to determine the total square feet. Now insert a decimal point in this number two places to the left. ** Now, multiply this number by 3. ** If the cost of the package minus coupons is less than or equal to this figure, it's a decent deal -- basically ** $0.03 ** or less per square foot!


3 jill June 6, 2012 at 10:21 am

That would put a 6 pk of Bounty Basic that I got for $1.99 at $9.15!!!! That's a horrible price and more than they charge. What am I doing wrong with your calculations?


4 Kathy October 8, 2011 at 1:12 pm

This idea sounds good. I'm going to have to try this next time I go to the store for tp or paper towels. I wonder if it would work for paper plates. :)


5 MaryLena Anderegga November 14, 2011 at 6:51 pm

Kudos for this idea!! I've been using price per roll but with the different size rolls, I've had both hits and misses.


6 Shelly November 16, 2011 at 11:16 pm

They currently have Marcal® Small Steps®100% Recycled Bath Tissue Rolls, 2-Ply, 12/Case, regularly $14.99 on sale for $4.49 - over 70% off PLUS there is a coupon available in most Staples stores on the front of their Breakroom/Cleaning Supplies Catalog for $20 off a $75 purchase - You can get 17 packages for $56.33 plus tax WITH FREE SHIPPING - regular price would have been $254.83 - total discount of more than 78%!! I purchased a set for the women's shelter as they always need bathroom tissue and other paper products!


7 Landan Croom January 29, 2012 at 2:02 am

Im grateful for the post. Fantastic.


8 MaryLena Anderegga February 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm

I did find a new factor to consider in the paper towel pricing. I found the new Scott towel is much more absorbent that either Brawny or Bounty. It doesn't have any fancy designs but it almost has a quilted texture and absorbs so much more that it takes fewer sheets to clean up large spills.


9 Shelley Mourer February 13, 2012 at 11:19 pm

why cannot I find one simple laundry sopa coupon. I have been on so many sites saying that this would be the site to print your coupons!!!! I have tried for 2 days and I am in tears. Somebody please help


10 sarah February 16, 2012 at 12:59 am

shelley, start making your own laundry soap. It is super cheap and it cleans as well as regular soap. It is very easy to make


11 Kelly S April 30, 2012 at 4:30 pm

I found a recipe for laundry soap on Pinterest. Borax, Washing Soda and FelsNaptha. It took a little work to make it, but I have been using it for over 4 months and it cost me less than $10!!!!!


12 LucassMomAgain August 26, 2012 at 2:37 pm

Is there any version of homemade that would be comparable to a Free & Clear? Looking at the ingredients in FelsNaptha, I can not use that, I currently use Purex Free & Clear for my family as I have found the best deals on it


13 simplysweet October 4, 2013 at 2:20 am

Any recipe that calls for a bar of felsnaptha can be equally substituted with ivory soap. Ivory is the most pure and natural of all the soaps I have come across in stores. I have not tried handmade soap yet but I am very interested in knowing if it would work even better. There are also recipes for fabric softner too. But u can always just do a 50:50 water and vinegar solution.


14 Beats By De Shop March 9, 2012 at 10:42 pm

It is super cheap and it cleans as well as regular soap.


15 Christine Foglesong March 15, 2012 at 5:38 am

Do you have a recipe for making your own laundry detergent?
Also, what is the best laundry spray to get stains out of clothes?
Also, what is the cheapest way to product to use to wash dishes by hand and in the dishwasher?


16 Jo July 30, 2012 at 12:33 am

Hello DSM,
Thank you for this site and great advice--it all makes so much cent$ ! I do have a question if in the original posting, are the dollar amounts reversed in the bargain example? It's really late on Sunday, but if the last example is correct, both examples would yield the same price point, right? Maybe my brain is drained, so I'll just sleep on it--probably dreaming upon a Cottonelley White Quilted Northern Cloud fanned by Mr. Whipple squeezing me out of another nickel or dime or worse...BUT (I'm on a roll here...), with good advice, I'll figure out in the 7th Generation how to manage without getting soaked and maybe get it Scott free. Now that would be a dream, or a M-i-arcal. Good night John Boy.


17 Tara Kuczykowski July 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

At the stock-up price I have list, they would be the same price per square foot, but before that price is my example shelf price which is what determines if it's a good deal or not.

I will say that it's been more and more difficult recently to hit the stock-up price recently, so another good rule of thumb for purchasing is $0.25 per single roll and $0.50 per double roll.


18 michelle November 15, 2012 at 1:18 pm

i have been couponing for a while so I do know some of the "inns and outs" but my question is regarding price matching and couponing at walmart. lets say I have a publix add for b1g1 deals , should the cashier use the publix price or the walmart price divided by 2 per the walmart policy? I don't want to get anyone in trouble including myself, but i have seen cashiers do it differently. I have also seen cashiers not even ring up the free items, and i'm sure that's probably not correct and will mess up inventory/restocking.


19 bobi November 23, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Regarding the walmart comment. i am in las vegas and i was told that if there is a BOGO, walmart would not honor that coupon. they will price match all coupons except that one.


20 karen burton January 24, 2013 at 9:15 am

Cheap & easy dishwasher detergent recipe.....
1 Oxy (16 oz.) from the Dollar Tree
Dump into a large mixing container.
Fill container with the same amount of borax powder, kosher salt. Add 5 packets of lemon Kool-Aid. Mix and store in airtight container or plastic bag. I keep the Oxy container on my counter. The scoop that comes in it is the perfect amount for a load of dishes.
Works great and you get enough for several months.


21 Grel May 20, 2013 at 6:35 pm

Just be patient, there are always deals. It just takes time, access to a few computers, access to some inserts, time, and time.


22 Greenmtngal July 20, 2013 at 12:23 pm

I always go by the UNIT PRICE for EVERYTHING I can find it on the white shelf "sticker" underneath the item on the shelf. It makes it easy to compare the ACTUAL price of the item. I always choose the LOWEST UNIT PRICE for what I buy. I hope this helps:) Great site!


23 vickie August 4, 2013 at 7:12 am

I don't have a clue how things are entered, but I can tell it is alot of work. However, after working with Excel I know how to sort categories I need. I don't know who does this, but it would be nice if there were more categories i.e. dairy, frozen, breakfast. Or in alphabetical order or able to pick from name brand. It takes so long to go through 20 pages of coupons just to find out it is no longer available. Also, if I wait to print there are no more copies available. If I print when available, the date expires. Is there some way to get this info to the coupon websites and see if anything can b changed?


24 E June 3, 2014 at 5:57 pm

Has anyone actually seen tp at these prices in the last year? I can't say that it's terribly realistic now.. :/


25 Allen September 23, 2014 at 2:25 am

With hagin sso much content do you ever run into any issues
of plagorism or copyright infringement? My blog has a lot of completely unique content I've either created
myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it
is popping it up all over the internet witfhout my permission. Do you know any ways to help
prevent content freom being stolen? I'd definitely appreciate it.


26 mmmm August 31, 2015 at 7:06 pm

I get the $3.99 cottonelle 12 packs at wags and load up! we like the softer feel of cottonelle and I always get a few coupons in the pkg and use it..It is 12 dbl rolls usally on a coupon but this week it is all a person can purchase so I will stock up and use the .50 cent coupons I got from the last 12 dbl roll packs. A win win solution to tp!


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